Here is something that no one else out there will tell you; when it comes to web hosting companies, there are, generally speaking, three levels. The choices that you make in this regard tend to have a huge impact on your business. The good news is, whatever the type of web host that you choose at the beginning, it’s always possible for you to pack your stuff and move elsewhere. Switching web hosts is something that we, at Planet Marketing, have done a couple of times over the past decade or so. And the results have been amazing!
Levels of web hosting companies
Before making the switch to a different company, you need to understand that, as we have already stated, there are three levels of web host;
1) Bottom Level Web Hosting Companies
Understand here that we are not saying that bottom-level companies all suck. Far from it! Indeed, there are many great web hosts out there that fall into this rung! What we are mainly concerned with here are your requirements as a company, and the ability by your chosen host to help you achieve them as your business grows.
Examples of Bottom Level Web Hosts
- Godaddy: The thing about Godaddy is that they are the granddaddy of web hosting. And like a real grandpa, age may be catching up with them. That’s because they tend to be slow, hard of hearing and very loud. Though they are good at the basic stuff and are great for domains, Godaddy is really not what you should go for should you be looking for growth for your online assets.
- HostGator: In general, HostGator can be regarded as a good web hosting company for those that are looking for basic services.
- WordPress.com: WordPress.com is really for those that do not care about flexibility and such. If you are just looking to have your a site online, then WordPress.com will do for you. Otherwise, you should look elsewhere for your web hosting services provider.
Bottom level companies are the loudest
The reason why you may find it necessary to switch from one web host to another is that you would have fallen prey to the marketing gimmicks that come from bottom-tier web hosts. That’s because these companies tend to be the loudest when it comes to marketing.
The allure of $1.99 web hosting plans
Go online today and you are likely to come across aggressive ads from bottom-level web hosts. Their biggest selling point is, of course, their price. Believe it or not, no one is going to be able to beat the $1.99 per month web hosting plans that are offered by such companies. Indeed, you may have wondered while signing up how these companies manage to stay in business!
The answer to that is that bottom-level web hosts tend to provide a production line type of service. They have a few tools that are tailor-made to be used by thousands of websites. These companies play host to millions of sites on their servers.
And therein lies the problem. As your business grows, you will often find that such web hosts are not able to cater to its needs. They will not be able to provide the extreme customization, flexibility and speed that you need in order to up your game.
Who should go for a bottom tier web host?
Let us reiterate here that our assignment of the levels of web host has nothing to do with service. In fact, it has everything to do with your needs as a business. There are, in this regard, a number of instances where choosing a bottom tier web hosting company would actually be the best choice;
- If you require nothing other than a static website and you are not going to be blogging much and selling stuff on your site.
- If yours is a small company that’s just starting up and that has a small budget. An example of this would be an electrician operating from his home in a small town. If that is the case, there is really no need for you to go to extremes by choosing a top level web hosting company.
- If you are just starting out and are looking to simply get a feel of the layout of the web hosting terrain.
2) Mid Level Web Hosting Companies
As your business begins to achieve growth, you may begin to find that the bottom-level web host into whose clutches you fell at the beginning is no longer capable of giving you the kind of performance that you are looking for. It would become necessary, in this regard, for you to switch to a mid-level web host.
Examples of mid tier web hosts
There are many examples of mid-tier web hosting companies out there. What you should understand is that the line between a bottom-tier web host, such as Godaddy, and a mid-tier host, such as 1&1, tends to be rather fluid.
Who should choose mid tier web hosts?
Mid-tier web hosts are only slightly less shrill, in terms of marketing, than their bottom-level counterparts. Yet they offer great services to small businesses and startups. The great thing about them is that they go beyond the provision of a basic web hosting service, to allow you to really begin marketing your company online.
We were with Bluehost for five years
At Planet Marketing, we were with Bluehost for about five years, and in all that time, it proved to be suitable for a small business such as ours. We were also with Dreamhost, another mid-level web hosting company, for another 4 years. These companies allowed us to grow to a level where we decided that it was time for us to, as we have now done, move to a top-level web host.
Mid level web hosting plans cost more
One of the things that you will discover is that mid-level web hosts actually have products that compete with bottom-level companies in terms of price. However, if you are seriously considering turning your online presence into an asset, you need to stay away from these basic plans. What you need is a plan that offers you the ability to carry out SEO on your plan and that provides for flexibility in terms of marketing. These mid-level plans tend to cost more, but they are really worth the extra dollars.
3) Top Level Web Hosting Companies
As your business grows, a time comes when it becomes necessary to take out the big guns. Forget all that about $1.99 web hosting plans and all the other marketing gimmickry; what you really need in this case is to sign up with a top-level web hosting services provider. So, which are the top-tier web hosts that can be found out there?
- Google Cloud Platform
These are really the primary top-level hosts that can be found out there. However, what you will discover is that though they provide you with an amazing range in terms of world-class infrastructure for your site, they are not really going to be suitable unless you hire the services of a programmer. Assuming that your company has achieved growth, this is certainly something that you can do. Indeed, hiring programmers is something that you should do if you can afford it.
Companies that use Google Cloud Platform and AWS
Fortunately, for the rest of us, including small businesses, the good news is that it is still possible to take advantage of the amazing services that are offered by Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services (AWS). That’s because there are companies out there that offer hosting on the two platforms;
- Kinsta- Hosted on Google Cloud Platform
- WP Engine: Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform
Going with any of the above companies tends to be cheaper than signing up with Google Cloud Platform and AWS on your own.
Planet Marketing is now hosted on Kinsta
At Planet Marketing, we made the decision, a while back, that we were going to move to the very top in terms of web hosting. That’s why we decided to move from Bluehost to Kinsta, which is hosted on Google Cloud Platform.
That way, we get all the benefits of Google Cloud Platform without having to hire the services of programmers. The great thing about companies such as Kinsta and WP Engine is that they make it simple for small businesses to get hosting with the industry’s big guns.
How much does it cost to have our site on Kinsta?
Top level web hosts are, as is to be expected, a lot more expensive than the $1.99 that you get elsewhere. Our own host at Planet Marketing, Kinsta, has plans that begin from $30 per month. The great thing about this entry level plan is that you get 2 free months if you pay 1 year upfront. What this means is that you actually end up $300/yr instead of $360/yr. More expensive than what you would get with a company like HostGator, but the rewards are really amazing;
- Our site loads faster
- We get a staging site for testing our site
- We don’t have to worry about the safety of our site.
- We get a lot more in terms of SEO and marketing opportunities for our site
- Service is amazing. Unlike most of the web hosting companies that are out there, Kinsta doesn’t have tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 level support. What you get instead is a team of programmers who specialize in WordPress. The result is that when you talk to someone, you don’t get shunted from one place to the other.
- We don’t have to worry about our site getting slower as our business grows.
- Our website is constantly being backed up, which means we will be able to recover all our data should the need ever arise.
The best of the best
Top-level web hosts may not be for everyone, but they are, without doubt, the best of the best. If you are looking for a host that’s not only fast, but one that is also flexible enough to allow you to do almost anything with your site, then you should go for a top-tier web hosting company.
When should you switch to a different web hosting company?
Now that we have explained to you the different categories of web host that exist out there, it’s time to show you when you should consider switching to a different company. So, why do people switch web hosts? There are several reasons why it may become necessary for you to switch web hosting companies;
- If you are looking to up your game: Basic web hosting is, well, very basic. However, if you are looking to up your game, you need to make the switch from a company such as Bluehost, Hostgator and Godaddy to either AWS or Google Cloud Platform. The benefits of doing so can never be overemphasized. After making the move, the Planet Marketing website has become way faster than it was when we were still on Bluehost. This has a wide range of benefits, particularly in terms of SEO ranking.
- You may have simply grown wiser: The bottom tier companies, as we have already stated, tend to be the loudest, and you may have fallen into their grasp at the beginning; lured by the promise of affordability. This is something that companies such as Godady, Hostigator, 1&1 and so many more are rather good at. The promise of having your website hosted for a measly $1.99 may have been too much for you to resist. However, at some point in time, you would have realized that this assembly line type of web hosting is not suitable for your company. Again, the good news is that you can always move to another webhost.
- Your business may have grown: We all begin small right? Okay, in the world of the internet and Kickstarter, there are some start-ups out there that are launching with eye watering IPOs. However, for the most part, we all start small, in which case a low tier web hosting plan would have been best for you. There is really, as we have already noted, no need for you to break the bank with web hosting costs when all that you require is a static site that acts as an online business card for your company. However, as you grow, you may find that it becomes necessary for you to switch to a mid-tier host. As you grow even further, you may have to seriously consider moving to the big guns in the web hosting industry. The flexibility, speed and other benefits that arise from doing so are essential elements for those that seriously wish to turn their websites into their biggest assets.
- Your web host may have grown lousy: Getting a great web host for your website tends to be rather difficult, particularly because there are so many lousy players out there. Not that we are saying there is any relation between the tier in which we have placed a host and the level of lousiness. Indeed, there are many great bottom level companies out there, just as there are a few lousy top tier web hosts! So, switching web hosts is something that you may find necessary is you are looking for the best in terms of service. And, at Planet Marketing, we are always advising people that, instead of making a lateral transfer, from one web host to another on the same level, it can be a lot better to move up the ladder to something awesome. This is something that we did as we moved from Bluehost to Kinsta. By making an upward move, you are assured that you will not have to do so again should your business really achieve phenomenal growth.
- The nomadic bug may have bitten you: Okay, so this is obviously not a good reason for changing your web host, but it’s something that happens nevertheless. Again, instead of changing your web host simply for the sake of it, we advise you to make it worth your while by moving to the next level in terms of web hosting.